In 2003, I wrote a resolution for the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs in support of Mental Health Parity. I was inspired by a bill that was written by Patrick J. Kennedy at the time. To my surprise, on February 1st, Kennedy was speaking at a venue just 3 miles from where I live on the implementation/enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. I wanted to hear him speak. I was quite inspired by his presentation on his personal struggle with drug addiction and the mental health parity law. You can read about it here.
Inspired because I immediately thought of clients I work with who have ADHD and an addiction problem to drugs, alcohol and more. Then I thought of all of you. How many of us have seen this in our clients and heard about it in discussions and presentations? Almost all of us.
I went to ADDitude magazine and did a little research. It wasn’t hard to find information on this topic. Such as: “Intoxicants are risky business if you have attention deficit disorder (ADHD). A recent survey found that more than 15 percent of adults with the disorder had abused or were dependent upon alcohol or drugs during the previous year.” — Carl Sherman, Ph.D.
“The impulsivity, poor judgment, and social awkwardness that often come with ADHD pave the way to overindulgence, regardless of the consequences.”
“. . . felt that having ADHD made it hard for her to fit in — except with the crowd that smoked marijuana. They accepted me” and “ADHD adults are at a higher risk for substance abuse due to untreated symptoms”.
Kennedy is asking that everyone work to ‘stop the denial’ of the affects of mental health on our lives and the lives of others. As coaches, this is something that we should give our attention and support. The law is there, yet it is not being followed. I know myself that I was denied insurance because I had ADHD. Under the law, they cannot do that, but they still do. A question was asked about the shortage of doctors and beds in hospitals to care for those with addictions. He stated “denying treatment falls under the violation of the mental health parity law”.
Kennedy has set up a registry at parityregistry.org called Parity Complaint Registry and Appeal Resource for registering our story. As coaches, we can help by informing our clients that this registry “has been launched to help consumers, providers, advocates, and others gather valuable information and access resources to prepare to register a complaint or an appeal with a health plan or regulatory agency when a denial of care for mental health or addiction services has occurred.“
It seems to me this is a valuable resource or outlet for our clients. They need their voices to be heard, and as coaches, we can help. I encourage you to keep this website nearby when you are coaching or giving a presentation.
Until the next time . . . . Joyce